This morning I completed a short video showing off my everyday carry (EDC) kit. I was instructed to do a “pocket dump” on a table in the TV studio and explain all the things I carry and why I carry them. Easy enough. I had three things (four if you count the light/laser combo on my pistol).

At the time I was dragged into the studio to show off my wares, I was carrying my Grey Man pistol, a small flashlight and a Spyderco folding knife.

The way people were looking at my paltry arrangement of fighting tools, you would have thought everyone in the room expected me to be the first casualty in any deadly force encounter. Apparently other people had more gear when they made their pocket dumps on the table of judgment. Other people who stood in front of the camera had trauma kits and backup guns and spare magazines and spare knives and kubatons and all sorts of other things.

I had a gun, a knife and a flashlight. That was it.

EDC Is a Personal Choice

I will occasionally carry a trauma kit with a tourniquet and some combat gauze. Most of the time, I will carry a spare magazine. I have pepper spray that sometimes finds a home in my pocket, but you know what? That pocket clip on the spray is on the wrong side of the can, so it holds the can in the wrong position. I don’t like that.

And there you have it. There are some things about carrying defensive gear I just don’t like. Clint Smith is famous for saying, “Carrying a gun is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable.” But a lot of us still want to enjoy a little bit of comfort. How much stuff could you cram onto your belt? I mean, I’m not a small guy. I could stand to lose a few pounds, but once the number of defensive tools reaches five or six, I often wonder just where I’m headed. Certainly, none of us are PLANNING to walk into a raging gun battle, but we don’t get to choose. It could happen. As Senior Editor Ed Combs is fond of saying, there is a “non-zero” chance that you may need to use your weapons today. It COULD happen.

Adapt Your Everyday Carry

Still, I balance my carry gear with my known destinations during the day. If I know that I am going to be in my office most of the day, I don’t need much on my belt. We have locked doors, an alarm system and multiple layers of defense. On the other hand, if I am going to be roaming around the countryside, I will carry a different set of tools. On the other other hand, if I know I am driving and possibly stopping in a densely populated area (for me, that is any town bigger than about 20,000), I will have spare ammo and a trauma kit on my person.

There is always some sort of “get home” kit in my vehicle. That consists of extra ammo, first-aid gear, a spare house key, a giant can of bear spray (for bears, of course) and some various other items I think I might need to help me get from where I am to where I want to be.

Train With Your Everyday Carry Gear

I’m not here to defend my choice of EDC gear. Nor am I here to lambaste your choice. The life you are planning to defend is very likely your own, meaning the choice is yours. You can be loaded down like a Ranger on patrol or you can carry only a derringer in your vest pocket — I don’t care either way.

What I really care about is that you practice situational awareness and conflict avoidance. See danger and get away from it. The best fight is the one you are not in. But if you choose to carry defensive tools, I feel you must train to a level that will allow you to use the tools you carry to their best effect.

I suggest you only use violence as a last resort. But if you must fight, you must become violent enough fast enough to end the fight quickly. The longer the fight lasts, the greater the chance you will be hurt.